Our readers are surely aware that Donald Trump used a bogus injury to avoid military service during the Vietnam War, correct?
A few weeks after his 22nd birthday, Donald Trump received a notice from the federal government. On July 9, 1968, his local draft board had scrawled a “1A” beside his name in its handwritten ledger, classifying him as available for unrestricted military service.
For the previous four years, Trump had avoided the draft — and the possibility of being sent to fight in the Vietnam War — by obtaining four separate deferments so he could study at Fordham University and the University of Pennsylvania. With his diploma in hand and his college days over, he was suddenly vulnerable to conscription.
Trump’s exposure to the draft, however, didn’t last long. Two months later, on Sept. 17, 1968, he reported for an armed forces physical examination and was medically disqualified, according to the ledger from his local Selective Service System draft board in Jamaica, N.Y., now in the custody of the National Archives.
The ledger does not detail why Trump failed the exam — the Selective Service destroyed all medical records and individual files after the draft ended in 1973 and the military converted to an all-volunteer force.
In recent days, Trump, a Republican presidential candidate, and his campaign have said that he received the medical deferment because he had bone spurs in his feet. But rather than clear up all questions about why he did not serve in the military during the Vietnam era, they have given shifting accounts that are at odds with the few remaining documents in his Selective Service file.
Trump’s claim to have been disqualified for bone spurs was an interesting one given that he’d played both football and basketball in prep school, a claim of questionable credibility…
Trump’s draft board records show that he had another armed forces physical two years earlier, on Dec. 15, 1966. Although the ledger does not spell out the results, he was not granted a medical deferment at the time — indicating that he was found fit for duty.
When Trump registered for the draft at 18 in 1964, he had just graduated as a decorated cadet from the New York Military Academy in Cornwall, where he played football and basketball.
His draft registration card lists him as being 6 feet 2 inches tall, weighing 180 pounds and having birthmarks on both heels. Almost immediately, as he enrolled at Fordham, he was granted the first of his four education deferments.
Trump’s actions during the Vietnam War were what they were, and we would have little interest in revisiting them given the efforts of millions of his contemporaries to avoid having to fight in what many thought was a pointless and immoral conflict.
Except for this…
White House hopeful Donald Trump on Wednesday said the Geneva Conventions are the reason U.S. soldiers are “afraid to fight.”
“The problem is we have the Geneva Conventions, all sorts of rules and regulations, so the soldiers are afraid to fight,” Trump said at a campaign event in Appleton, Wis., less than a week before the state’s primary.
No, you really don’t want to say that our soldiers are afraid to fight when you evaded military service yourself. That isn’t going to come off well.
What Trump was trying to get across was opposition to the rather restrictive rules of engagement that our military works under in Afghanistan and Iraq. That’s a legitimate issue which has frustrated the efforts to defeat the various jihadist factions America has been fighting since 9/11.
“We can’t waterboard, but [the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria] can chop off heads,” the celebrity businessman said on Wednesday.
Trump’s troublesome phraseology – one assumes he’s not trying to agitate for the ability to behead people, so why even bring that up? – aside, the history of his draft avoidance make this entire line of discussion cringeworthy. For one thing, don’t make statements which give the impression you question the bravery of our troops even if that’s not what you mean. And for another, don’t issue bombastic statements about how tough you are and how stupid the military brass is when you didn’t serve in the military and don’t have any actual expertise to bring to the table.
If Trump wants to be the Republican nominee, it’s time for him to rise above the sloppy, drunk-at-the-end-of-the-bar ranting that characterizes his campaign. But so far, from his politically suicidal statements on abortion (he wants to punish women seeking abortions?) to his bizarre suggestions that he doesn’t want the support of other Republican candidates should he win the nomination, there is zero development on this man’s part whatsoever.